Walk& Talk Therapy

Counselling while talking and walking outside

Walk and Talk therapy in Taunton, Somerset-sometimes referred to as hiking therapy, Counselling in the open-air

COVID-19 forced my counselling and therapy practise to switch to remote working very quickly. Although this migration went reasonably well in a short period of time, it is a completely new territory. I have had to respond quickly and adapt to the needs of both my existing and new counselling clients. I have had to focus on online therapy and now introducing walk and talk therapy sometimes referred to as hiking therapy for local clients in Taunton as an option.

Walk and talk therapy or Counselling while walking and talking outside, is offered as an alternative to the traditional therapy room setting.

Walk-and-talk therapy takes your sessions outdoors in Taunton. It can happen in a public park in Taunton or on nearby trails. This alternative provides a new approach by infusing the benefits of fresh air and exercise into the counselling sessions. 

Whether it’s a leisurely walk or a brisk hike, can make it easier for some people to discuss their feelings. Clients may prefer to move or walk as opposed to sitting across from their therapist in an office or looking through a screen online. 

I have found that walk-and-talk therapy can be particularly helpful in teenagers and younger clients. 

How Does Walk & Talk Therapy Work?

Walk Talk therapy is linking walking with traditional talk therapy. The client and counsellor walk side by side, sharing each step and word. Being outdoors can be less confrontational for a client who is uncomfortable in a traditional counselling setting or is finding it facing a difficult issue.  The client chooses the pace of the walk.

Why Choose Walk & Talk Therapy

  • In addition to exercise’s ability to combat depression, anxiety, insomnia, weight gain and other health and mental health conditions, combining walking with therapy has benefits of its own:
  • Being in natural environments helps our nervous systems unwind – we know that being in nature helps to quell anxiety and rumination and can soothe the mind.
  • Walk-Talk therapy offers an opportunity to reduce stress, relieve body tension, improve circulation, breathe deep and clear the body-mind of intrusive, negative and ruminative thoughts and sensations
  • Exposure to natural light and fresh air combined with light exercise carries opportunities for mood benefits.
  • Being in the outdoors with a counsellor is also a fantastic place to practice refining your mindfulness skills, as there is ample opportunity to tune into sensory information from all of your senses.
  • These sessions can help you decrease anxiety, regulate mood, enjoy more restful sleep and more. Additionally, you can receive the feel-good brain chemical benefits of exercise, mindfulness practice and eco-psychology. In the session, you can enhance insight, release body trauma and alter behaviour patterns while verbally processing your authentic truth.
  • Walking may encourage and promote you engaging in additional walks on your own.
  • Being outside and moving while talking about your difficulties can help create distance between yourself and your problems and this can help you relax
  • You choose the location and our walking pace – the walking is secondary to our therapeutic conversation.
  • Walk and talk sessions may not suit every situation, but it can provide you with the opportunity to meet and speak comfortably while being immersed in a natural surrounding that appeals to you.

Where will it Take Place? and what happens in the sessions?

The free initial assessment session will take place online via Zoom, WhatsApp and other platforms. This ensures that we are suitable to work together and that I am the best counsellor to help you address your problem.  It also allows us to contract together. We will agree on what we will do if the weather is bad.

Thereafter, all our counselling sessions will start at the museum in Taunton or at any convenient location for you in Taunton.

We will meet at a mutually arranged time and date.

I will walk for 50 minutes with you, you the client, setting the pace.

You may prefer a slower, relaxing session or a fast-paced session. If you feel it is necessary to sit down at any time, we will.

In the sessions?

We will meet and start to walk; perhaps in the park, along a scenic waterfront or through the Town of Taunton. Walking side by side, we’ll discuss what comes to mind for you that day in the context of our overall goals, just as if we were sitting inside a therapy room.  Sometimes we might take a few moments to stand in silent reflection, deep breathe or sit in guided visualization.

By the end, you’ll have gained some understanding, let loose a little and noticed a helpful shift in your level of stress and anxiety. 

What will it Cost? Can I bring my dog to the walk and talk sessions?

Walk-Talk therapy requires an initial assessment session conducted online. When we schedule our appointments, we will discuss the type of session you would prefer. 

Yes, in most cases. When and where we will meet, the length of our session and your dog’s personality and temperament will be considered in determining which if any sessions are appropriate for your dog to attend.

The cost of Walk Talk Therapy is £45.

Payment is via cash or bank transfer. Payment needs to be before the session.

Are there any ethical concerns about walk-and-talk therapy?

Apart from any potential physical concerns, there are some ethical questions to consider before you start your first walk. Once you venture out you have less control over the privacy of your session. 

There’s the possibility that we will see someone you may know, or you may come across someone who recognizes me as a counsellor. Depending on how busy the park or the trail is, there’s also a chance our conversation may be overheard. 

These concerns may not bother some clients and won’t change their preference—but for others, giving up the privacy and confidentiality of their sessions may not be worth the sunshine and fresh air.  We will discuss any concerns prior to our first walk-and-talk, so we can make an informed decision together.

Set up boundaries with your clients beforehand, like how they want to proceed if they do see someone they know, or how often they want to stop to rest and drink water. That way, when you’re out on the trail, you can use the walk to focus on your conversation—not distractions.

 

Some of the shared articles here may provide solutions in themselves, they may raise questions you’d like to explore with a counsellor. Click here for helpful links

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